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Report: Vast majority of church property claims decided

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Prague, Nov 29 (CTK) – Only 166 of about 10,000 property claims made by Czech churches were decided and the final verdicts on 153 of nearly 1,500 church complaints against the state decision on their claim were made by mid-2017, according to a report the government was to deal with on Wednesday.

When the law on the state-church property settlement took effect in 2013, Czech churches had 12 months to submit their claims and provide evidence that they had owned the property that the Czechoslovak communist regime nationalised after World War Two. Under the law, the churches will be returned property worth about 75 billion crowns and receive financial compensation of 59 billion crowns for the unreturned property. Most of the property and compensation goes to the Roman Catholic Church.

Probable next prime minister Andrej Babis (ANO) said he would like to impose a tax on the financial compensation that is annually paid to churches. Church representatives dismissed this.

Apart from real estate, churches claimed the return of 2,663 movable items including works of art.

The number of church complaints has markedly increased since the release of the report of the situation at the end of last year. The churches complain against their claims rejected by cadastral offices and against the transfer of their former property from the state to municipalities. Last year, the Catholic Church withdrew claims against property that is now owned by regional authorities.

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